Help needed to monitor our frog populations

The Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog is one of the Mid North Coast's most common frogs. Photo Jodi Rowley.
The Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog is one of the Mid North Coast's most common frogs. Photo Jodi Rowley.

The sound of rain falling on the roof in recent days was music to a lot of people's ears, but it also brought with it another noise that has been absent from the landscape.

The sonorous and persistent sound of frogs calling to one another started up soon after the first significant rain fell on the Mid Coast late last week, leaving those who noticed it to no doubt wonder how long it'd been since they'd heard the creatures.

Frog biologist at the Australian Museum, Dr Jodi Rowley, says there has been a significant reduction in the amount of noise frogs have been making across Australia over the past few years, which is a cause for concern.

"In many parts of the country, frogs are silent," Dr Rowley said.

"The usual pond, dam or stream is dry."

Another common frog to the region, the Common Eastern Froglet. Photo Jodi Rowley.

Another common frog to the region, the Common Eastern Froglet. Photo Jodi Rowley.

Dr Rowley said while some species of Australian frogs were adapted to deal with prolonged drought, others were much more sensitive to disturbances in their environment.

She said it was yet to be established what impact the extreme drought conditions and extensive bushfires had had on many frog species across the country, but the lack of noise remained a concern.

"The noise you hear is actually the males calling female frogs to come mate with them," Dr Rowley explained.

"So if you're not hearing frogs, they're not breeding. If that happens for long enough then that is a worry."

With four species already lost to extinction in the past 50 years and dozens of Australia's remaining 240 species under threat, Dr Rowley said it was important people were aware of the essential role frogs played in a healthy ecosystem.

"They eat a lot of invertebrates and insects and are also food for a lot of things," she said.

"Tadpoles also graze on algae in streams and ponds which helps keep the algae levels down."

The Southern Barred Frog (pictured) and the Davie's Tree Frog are both threatened species on the Mid North Coast.

The Southern Barred Frog (pictured) and the Davie's Tree Frog are both threatened species on the Mid North Coast.

With the recent rain and subsequent increase in frog calls, Dr Rowley believed now was the time to find out how frogs were doing - and we can all lend a hand.

The free FrogID app allows people to record frog calls on their smartphone and then submit the recordings to the Australian Museum, who use the information to better understand the state of Australia's frog populations.

Dr Rowley said the Mid North Coast was a particularly diverse and important area for frogs in NSW, with the Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog, the Common Eastern Froglet and Peron's Tree Frog three of our most common.

"The best time to hear frogs is after rain," Dr Rowley said.

"Let's figure out how our frogs are doing."

This story Rain brings frogs out, but where's the noise? first appeared on Great Lakes Advocate.